Feasibility study finds promise for vibrant, “reinvented” MOSI in Downtown Tampa
Innovative science center would create a sustainable business model and bring MOSI’s potent mixture of fun and learning to a larger audience.
Tampa, Florida – Relocating the Museum of Science & Industry to Downtown Tampa would create a vibrant, strong, and future-focused science center that reaches more people and is financially sustainable, according to a feasibility study released this morning.
The study found that a new science center would add a beacon of learning in the crucial fields of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) to Tampa’s business and cultural core, creating new opportunities for a one-of-a-kind learning experience for residents of Hillsborough County and communities across the region.
“This study is the first step in looking at the future of MOSI – not just where it will be located, but how it will become a powerhouse in our region’s education ecosystem. MOSI’s broader plan is to serve as a pillar of prosperity in Tampa Bay by driving real-world learning and fostering life-long wonder,” said MOSI President and CEO Molly Demeulenaere.
Museum Management Consultants and ConsultEcon conducted the study, analyzing the opportunities for MOSI if the institution relocated to Downtown Tampa. Among their findings:
- With a Downtown location and “reinvented” exhibits and programs, MOSI’s attendance is projected to rise by 34 percent compared to recent years. The study projects more repeat visits from local residents and annual memberships, as well as growth in tourism revenue. MOSI’s audience would expand to include more young adults, adults attending without children, and seniors.
- MOSI would add an important, unique element to Downtown Tampa’s cultural core with its proven blend of exciting fun and STEAM learning, contributing to a “critical mass” of institutions that feed collaboration and drive innovation in the community.
- With a new facility that is appropriately sized for the Tampa Bay market and designed to be energy efficient, MOSI would improve its financial sustainability compared to its current campus, which the study calls “overbuilt.”
MOSI is a not-for-profit organization guided by a board of directors made up of community leaders. Members of the board will review the study and receive a formal presentation from the consultants on April 19. At that meeting, the board may consider taking another step to gather more information about a Downtown location.
“The leadership from MOSI’s board members has built MOSI into the important learning institution that it is today. We understand the vital role MOSI plays in Tampa Bay’s future. While there’s no specific timetable in place, we are fully committed to making the right decisions for MOSI and our community as we move toward next steps,” said MOSI Board Chair Mike Schultz, President and CEO of Florida Hospital West Florida Region.
The study focused on the operations, attendance, and year-to-year financial strength of a Downtown science center. The study did not specify or recommend:
- An exact location for a new science center
- The features, exhibits, and programs offered at a new science center
- The exact size of a new science center
- The cost of a new science center and the funding sources involved
Hillsborough County partnered with MOSI to fund the feasibility study. Both organizations are now reviewing the findings with the intention of collaborating on the next steps. MOSI is expected to brief the Board of County Commissioners on April 20 to provide an update on the findings.
MOSI, the Museum of Science & Industry, is Tampa Bay’s community-supported science center. At MOSI, people of all ages (this means you!) can see and do amazing things every day. Ride in the only driverless car open to the public in North America, witness the future in 3-D Printing: The Exhibition, experience an immersive film in the Florida Hospital IMAX® DOME Theatre, see the stars in the Saunders Planetarium, have a blast in our Kids in Charge! children’s science center, wonder at nature in our BioWorks Butterfly Garden, and defy gravity on our Sky Trail® Ropes Course and Zip Line. MOSI (we pronounce it MOH’-zee) is the largest science center in the Southeast, and a not-for-profit magnet for innovation in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) education where we make a difference in people’s lives by making science real for people of all ages and backgrounds. For more information about MOSI, visit MOSI.ORG.